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Yachats Mayor W. John Moore, pictured on a tour of the OCCC South County Center in Waldport on Tuesday, July 7.

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South Lincoln County residents who’ve never had cause to visit the South County Center of Oregon Coast Community College may soon be winding their way down Crestline Drive, on their way to classes in photography, history, writing and more.

For the past eight years, the Center has been largely devoted to two main programs, Nursing Assistant and Medical Assistant. Beginning with the upcoming 2020-21 school year, however, the Center will be hosting a variety of new courses and meetings.

Medical lab moving from South to North

“Shortly after the South County Center was constructed in Waldport, it became home to our Nursing Assistant and Medical Assistant Programs,” said Birgitte Ryslinge, president of OCCC. “The high-tech sim lab necessary for these programs filled more than half of the entire facility, and often required use of the one additional classroom located there.

"By moving these programs to the College’s North County Center in Lincoln City, we’re making those medical programs more accessible for North County residents while we’re also freeing up space for more credit courses, noncredit community education classes, and small business workshops for South County residents.”

More choices for South County residents

The change will open up a variety of possibilities for the Waldport facility.

“In just the past few years, we’ve seen our lineup of non-credit community education courses grow from less than a dozen each term to more than 50,” said Dave Price, OCCC’s director of community engagement. “A few of these have been made available in Waldport, but too often it’s hard to schedule the time without interrupting the medical assistant or nursing assistant programs. Now, we’ll have greater flexibility and will be scheduling a much wider variety of courses. It’s likely we’ll be able to schedule additional credit courses and business workshops also.”

Before the coronavirus, more and more credit classes were being offered simultaneously in Lincoln City and Newport, in a “hybrid” model, with a classroom of students in one location with an instructor, while another group of students watch and participate live, via Zoom, together in a classroom in another campus. This minimized travel time for students, along with other efficiencies.

“Now, hybrid classes like these may also be scheduled to include Waldport,” said Dan Lara, OCCC’s Chief Academic Officer. “That said, the ongoing Covid-19 situation will likely delay our ability to take full advantage of the additional classroom space in Waldport.” Lara added that many classes for the Fall 2020 term are being offered online, to protect the health of students and faculty. He also said that there are some exciting plans being considered to use the location to greatly enhance the College’s ability to offer additional arts programming for students and the community at large, including credit and non-credit options.

Have scrubs, will travel

Linda Mollino, director of OCCC’s Health and Human Services Careers, said her staff is excited to reach out to a new population of potential students through the relocation of the medical programs from the South to the North.

“Our Medical Assistant and Nursing Assistant programs aren’t just a fast-track to good jobs, often for folks just out of high school or people looking for a career change. But, they’re also an important first step for some who decide to pursue a Nursing degree here at OCCC. Many have followed that path, and then gone on to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing. These assistant programs can be a critical launching point,” she said. “We’re proud we were able to offer those programs in Waldport for the past eight years, and we’re glad we can now make them available in Lincoln City. And, as before, we’ll welcome students from every corner of the county.”

For more information about the Nursing Assistant or Medical Assistant programs, visit, or call 541-867-8548. For details about community education or small business development center courses, visit and click the “Community” tab in the top menu.

To apply to Oregon Coast Community College for the fall term, visit, or call 541-867-8501.

OCCC’s South County Center is located at 3120 Crestline Drive in Waldport, and its North County Center is at 3788 SE High School Drive in Lincoln City.

Oregon Coast Community College is in its 33rd year of service to Lincoln County, with facilities in Waldport, Lincoln City and Newport. The College offers two-year transfer degrees, Associate Degrees, and a variety of degree and certificate programs in Health and Human Services, Business, Teaching, and Aquarium Science.


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